Pressure’s Always On. Seren, and The Wonder Years

Obviously, not all at the same show, but wouldn’t that be a hilarious line-up? Imagine that for a moment. Okay time’s up.

Metal Monday @ Middle East Upstairs

The show exceeded expectations, both as far as musical capability of the bands and the crowd’s reaction to said bands. I usually tend to avoid going to those random local Metal shows for three reasons:

1) Bands I don’t know with names that make me not want to check them out, much less say aloud. Sorry to say, but many of the great names have been taken or are just not available to everyone out there with the know-how and talent to twist a few riffs together. “Never Judge A Book”, blah blah blah. Blame me for being an aesthete.

2) No crowd action. All this talk of “support your local Metal/Hardcore scene” better be backed up by a few morning-after bruises, or I’ll just wait ’til some random bands from Georgia who know how to conduct a crowd comes around. Fuck.

3) Er… I just need 3 reasons to justify making a list. Bad logos, or something.

So as I was saying, local metal shows aren’t normally my thing, especially those at the Middle East or Great Scott. We have good bands, we have bad bands, we have lazy crowds, and we  havecrowds full of people who need to put their beer down and mosh. So, before this devolves into a rant on how the Boston metal scene is rife with tedium, let’s start this review off right.

Unrest In Transit arrived in a schoolbus with a bunch of their homies from Hades knows where. I’m not gonna look this up, but they were silly for doing that, and played some decent tunes that straddled the line between Deathcore and TechDeath. Or at least that’s how it sounded from outside the loading door, where I waited to sneak in, even though I was of age and had bought my ticket from Boarcorpse’s vocalist. Fascinating development, yeah? Anyhow, they did well, so what else can I say?

Following them was Deadfall, which is a name that could mean just about anything. I’m not asking questions, it was probably conceieved through a night of whiskey and poorly cooked beef with a side of spicy couscous. Since there already exists a band or two under this moniker, I say “fuck, man”. Whatever, go check out their bandcamp, they’re a good Progressive Metal band with choppy rhythms and often irregular time signatures. Or “djent”, whatever your favourite term is. They’re a bit like Periphery, but instrumental, so imagine if Tosin Abasi set out to make a whole album like the “Wave Of Babies” single. At this show, however, a vocalist was present, clad in an Austrian Death Machine shirt. I have no idea what he was growling and singing (the lattermost vocal technique needs improvement) since they’re by trade voiceless, but he and the band did smashingly. If that’s a word.

Following them were Berklee Deathrashers Ornamentality, who you may or not remember from a rather caustic and vitriolic review I did of their show with Dysentery, Replacire, Untombed, and Scalpel. I absolutely hated their guts. I thought “Why does this band exist? They’re stupid, they look like monkeys”, other bad things. I didn’t bother going to listen to their music on bandcamp after, which was a bit of a flaw on my part as a reviewer (seeing if a band is actually as bad on stage as they are on record). If you have forseen the amazing plot twist I planned, I eventually realize the error of my ways, as guitariste/vocaliste extraordinaire Chris pointed out at a chance meeting. Turns out that my humourously implying that they were on cocaine and whiskey binges was rooted in more reality than I could have anticipated, and that sometimes strong liquor and blow can take a bite out of your natural abilities. Yikes.

Well, long story short, they’re actually damn good on record, and when only fuelled by beer, a damn entertaining live act as well. The clumsy jumbled sweeping became sick shredfests, the wide-eyed, feral stares became expressions of ebullient joy, and overall, they were tight, clean, and a pleasure to see in action. Three cheers to the new and improved Ornamentality, with thought patterns like little red and green balls you put on Christmas trees. Revocation rip-off? Maybe. Bad? Naw.

Boarcorpse, despite being as much a staple of the Boston Metal scene as bacon is in any balanced unhealthy breakfast, had quite a tough act to follow. They are, however, the band that has song titles like “Bloodbath And Beyond” and “Babypaste”, so it’s not too hard for them to play energetic catch-up. Fusing mind-bending technicality and fret-board mayhem with lumbering slams and breakdowns, they’ve got stuff for you to make invisible oranges to as well as bring out your inner mosh zombie. It gets rough in that pit, kid. I got knocked on my ass, and since my cellphone was in my pocket, got a hard chunk of whatever this phone is made of jabbed into my right cheek something fierce. I tell ya, they ought to make smartphones as tough as these old flip deals, it’d save a lot of money.  

Headlining this whole celebration of underage iniquity was Seren, a band that plays heavy (and I mean heavy) Technical Death Metal, leaning on the polyrhythmic twang of djent, but never devolving into a Parkinson’s chugfest. Not much more I can say aside from the fact that they’re good at what they do, and very nice guys for allowing me and The Spaniard to crash at their merch table periodically. Here’s to you, fellas.

A Very GK! Holiday Festival with The Wonder Years

Well, I can’t say much about the bands I don’t know anything about… so I can’t effectively review the whole thing. I can, however, extend my thanks to Cronin the Barbarian’s generosity in lending me his extra ticket, and The Spaniard for tagging along (that free ticket swag comes in droves, yo), and also take a moment to say that the House of Blues is becoming increasingly Draconian about their bag check policy. Why check someone’s bag for illegal things, allow them to take it into the venue, and then hold them hostage at the coat check until they cough up 5 bucks? Bull freakin’ horseshit. Anyway, despite all of that mess, I’ll point out some highlights, so here you are, sir.

1.) That pit during “Shades Of Grey” by State Champs, ye gods. People go hard for that Empire State Pop Punk, I swear.

2.) The mosh athletics during Dangerous Summer‘s set. Keeping in mind that Dangerous Summer is an Indie band, not even the kind that occasionally delves into Pop Punk, just straight up Indie/Alternative that sounds like Kings Of Leon with a better singer, or uh… I’m not well acquainted with this stuff. Seahaven? Whatever. So, back to the original point, serious throwing down during Dangerous Summer. Backflips, all manner of spinning and flailing, elbows hither and thither, what on Earth? It was hilarious, and jarring.

3.) Transit‘s set, where they played some old song. Of course, since I’ve yet to fully delve into the world of Transit, Boston’s main Emo/Indie export. I foolishly passed up an opportunity to see them play a free show on my campus a few months ago, I was among the few not singing along, crying, having an orgasm, etc. They are stellar musicians and quite inspirational, so perhaps I should get with the program and begin shedding tears at their sweet relatable poetry in sound.

4.) Brian Marquis and Class Of ’92, the latter of whom was doing a surprise performance. I don’t know a thing about either, just that Brian MArquis is in Therefore I Am, and Co92 is soemthing truly special. I enjoyed it, did you?

5.) A Loss For Words, of course. You’d be surprised how big the pits can get for them upon Matty’s request to open the place up, but then again they were basically playing a hometown date like Transit, so it’s to be expected. Kids can’t lose. Their cover of “Use Somebody” did justice and beyond to that song, because I can’t stand their singer’s vocals. Well done, you’ve managed to make me dislike that song.

6.) The Wonder Years were fantastic, and of course had the highest songs I know:songs I stand around cluelessly for ratio, if not by a terribly great amount.

I found out I can posi-jump like a motherfucker, so great discoveries abound. Also, Soupy has a beard. Was not expecting that, based on his voice. So adorable.

Stick around, this torture has yet to end. Next up shall be Nervous Condition and Hivesmasher reviews, because Coke Bust/Sick Fix need their own damn article. Fuckin’ A.

Unrest in TRANSIT. Hah.


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